So why are we all moaning because it takes HMRC a "wee while" to answer their phones?
No wonder they are tied up!
The backlog, according to the media, is due to “rock-bottom” morale combined with a lack of resources. Given the many comments and stories on this site wrt morale and resources, that seems to be a plausible explanation in part.
With the retirement of many experienced tax professional from HMRC, the department is clealry becoming under resourced wrt experience.
Ian Hyde, a partner at the law firm Pinsent Masons, is quoted by the Telegraph:
“HMRC is beset by poor morale, high staff turnover, budget cuts, and a lack of quality when it comes to training and knowledge.”Unfortunately HMRC, instead of focussing on evasion and fraud, is stuck in the mindset that avoidance is also illegal (referring to it in the same light as evasion and fraud, even using the ward "war"):
“We do believe that we are winning the war against avoidance.
The £917 million made available to us as part of our 2010 spending settlement for tackling avoidance, evasion and fraud, is being used against the avoidance ‘industry’.It is foolish and emotive for HMRC to use the word "war"; as previous "wars", eg those against drugs and terrorism, end up becoming expensive failures that exacerbate the problems that they were meant to solve.
The Government has closed down many film schemes that were used to avoid tax. Many of the schemes still being marketed just don’t work.”